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Early county feedback sought for unique Crystal City redevelopment proposal

Developer JBG Smith filed a new conceptual site plan late last month proposing to redevelop a Crystal City office building.

The building, located at 1800 S. Bell Street, was leased by Amazon until its lease expired in 2023.

Ahead of Amazon’s planned departure, JBG Smith signaled its plans to “take off-line and entitle [the property] for alternate uses,” per a quarterly investor package from last summer. Amazon has another lease at 2100 Crystal Drive set to expire this year.

Now, the developer is in the early stages of advancing plans for what to do with 1800 S. Bell Street, which is directly north of the Crystal City Marriott hotel and across the street from the Crystal City Metro station.

The tower could get the redevelopment treatment as early as 2026, per JBG Smith’s report.

JBG Smith’s development pipeline in National Landing (via JBG Smith)

Application materials depict a 15-story office building divided into three sections, slightly off-centered from each other, with an “architectural feature corner” recommended in the Crystal City Sector Plan.

The sector plan identifies the west border for street improvements and the northeast corner for intersection improvements. It recommends a maximum height of 300 feet.

A floor plan map shows the ground floor will have a bike room, lockers, an “amenity/service” space and two retail spaces along S. Bell Street.

The plans also show “interim conditions” near Route 1. The Virginia Dept. of Transportation proposes to lower elevated portions of the road through Crystal City to grade, turning it into a lower-speed “urban boulevard.”

The transportation agency is also mulling at least one pedestrian bridge or tunnel at 18th Street S., near the Metro station, to improve safety. VDOT’s study of Route 1 is still in its second phase, which is set to wrap up by this summer.

JBG Smith filed the conceptual site plan to get county feedback on right-of-way design, “including interim and permanent conditions relative to Route 1 street improvements,” and project timing, “relative to ongoing right-of-way improvements and coordination with VDOT,” as well as site layout, according to its application.

The county offers the conceptual site plan option to “provide guidance to prospective applicants in the preparation of land use development applications through the preliminary identification of major policy, Zoning Ordinance, County Code, and/or process related issues.”

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